The last major release of Solid Edge was called ST6. It was announced in the summer time, and was available for download by the end of July. One of the great things about ST6 is that the documentation is all online. It’s also available on your local computer, but the great thing about being online is that you don’t have to have the software installed to be able to read the documentation. Also, you can read the docs from anywhere you have a signal. I was at the dentist office in the waiting room, and instead of wasting time, I was able to read up on a feature I wanted to learn – on my cell phone. This is not CAD-in-the-cloud, it’s making documentation freely available to as wide an audience as possible.If you want to read the whole list, here’s an official 92 page PDF with all the details.
Here are some of my favorites:
SolidWorks Data Migration tool: SE has other migration tools, but this one is new. You can convert directories of parts, assemblies, and drawings. In the assemblies you get mates, and in the parts, you get certain features. Drawings are converted as PDF or DXF. Read more detail here.
Surfacing: ST6 got four new or improved surface types. First the Redefine surface that enables you to replace several faces with a single face, and implement tug-and-pull face editing on that new face. SE added the Ruled surface, a workhorse for plastics and molds. The new Intersect tool brings improvements to to the old trimmed surface workflow. Bounded surface also got some improvements with curvature continuous allowed, along with edge condition handles. Read more about this here.
Synchronous Patterns: ST6 added some pattern recognition so imported parts can get synchronous procedural features to add intelligence. Patterns are easier than they used to be. SE has trimmed down the workflow to be more efficient and intuitive. Read more here.
Multi-body Modeling: Solid Edge has had multi-body modeling for a long time. ST5 saw a set of big enhancements in that area, and ST6 sees some more. Solid Edge multi-body modeling has a lot more to it than you might think at first, so if you’re interested in this topic, I wrote a series of articles that dive progressively deeper into all the methods you can use, and the implications of some of the options.
Sheet Metal: Sheet metal is functionality where Solid Edge thrives. ST6 gets some new tools like Embossing, Deform across bends, and. These are really aimed at non-brake press type operations. ST6 even allows you to use sheet metal features on any thin walled part.
Goal seeking: This is an area I haven’t dealt with very much, but it looks great. You can optimize dimensions on a part while trying to reduce weight. When done manually, this type of work can take a lot of time, and these automated tools will remove a lot of the tedium from this sort of task.
Mobile Viewer for Android: At first this was just available for larger format tablets, but this is now available for any Android device with 4.0 or later on it. This turns out to be one of the more popular enhancements with the guys on the community. It was a pile of forum requests that made this one happen.
Synchronous Assemblies: There were a couple of enhancements that fell under this title, including the ability to make synchronous edits to multiple parts at once in the assembly, and the ability to use synchronous boolean functions between parts in the assemblies. The awesome implications of these tools might not be obvious unless you use it (or just read the links).
Draft: The largest area of enhancements was Draft (drawings). Lots of improvements with annotations, and automatic spacing, bolt hole circles, blocks, view alignment, View Wizard, tables, slot centerlines, center marks, callouts, new drawing symbols, and so on.
YouTube connection: Now you can send your videos directly from Solid Edge to YouTube. This helps you do things like ask for help, offer help, show off a little, or whatever other reason you might want to create a video from Solid Edge. It’s as easy as clicking a button to start it, enter your info, do your performance, and then click another button to publish. Communication becomes a lot easier with this tool so readily available.
There are a lot more enhancements in ST6, and these are centered on stuff that real CAD users need. It’s obvious that these guys aren’t out of ideas about how to improve your software.